By Karla Prudhomme
Questions by motorists traveling on SR. 91 in Laurel Bloomery about the recent construction at the Old Mill Music Park are much more than just the expected casual curiosity. And for a good reason.
For decades, the Park has been the location for one of the most popular events promoting the Appalachian music sound scene, namely the Old Time Fiddlers Convention.
The main concern is whether or not the music Convention will continue to be held in the idyllic setting of the music park.
According to the new property owner, Lisa Woodard, the event is not off the table but must be rescheduled.
“There just wasn’t enough time to prepare and market the longtime annual event this year; however, we are planning to host the Old Time Fiddlers Convention in 2023.”
In August of 2019, the Old Time Fiddlers Convention celebrated its 94th anniversary, and had the global pandemic not halted the event in 2020 and 2021, this year would have marked the events’ 97th year. The Old Time Fiddlers Convention is Appalachia’s oldest and longest-running music convention.
Starting in 1925, the first Old Time Fiddlers Convention took place in the old Johnson County High School Auditorium, now home to Heritage Hall Theatre.
The event was so well-attended that the courthouse and grade school auditoriums were opened to accommodate the musicians and attendees.
Though the annual event has taken place at various locations in Johnson County over the years, the Old Time Fiddlers Convention has been held at the Old Mill Music Park in Laurel Bloomery since 2004.
Jackie Warden, the previous owner of the beautiful property, worked diligently over the years to ensure that the event continued and grew in both attendance and popularity.
With the rise of social media, the event gained a worldwide fan base, which drew musicians to the event from as far away as Japan and England.
While construction is underway at Old Mill Music Park to accommodate travel trailers and RVs with electricity, water, and septic, Woodard promises to host the 98th anniversary of the Old Time Fiddlers Convention, a fantastic musical heritage event so unique to Johnson County.